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I was very content with the lies…

I have had two abortions, one in 1978 and one in 1980. Both pregnancies were the result of misguided attempts to bolster low self-esteem and assuage periods of extreme lon[e]liness by getting a few minutes of "warmth and attention" from men I hardly knew using the only thing I had to get attention with - my body. Looking back, the years surrounding the abortions are horrible, depressing things to think about. The pregnancies threw me into such panic that the only thing I could think about was having the abortions before anyone found out. I had no one I could trust in my life, so I had nobody to talk to about it. My self-esteem was so poor that I couldn't face the rejection, ridicule, condemnation - in short, society's attitude toward single mothers. I also couldn't face the risk of being alienated from my family. I knew I would have to face condemnation from my father, and I know now that he would have insisted on the abortions anyway, so I felt I was "doing the right thing" by going ahead without telling anyone.

Other than the memory of the abortions being painful (both were suction abortions), I remember only feelings. I remember a terrible sense of shame and guilt (although I never allowed myself to examine why I felt that way.) I remember not wanting to hear anything about the reality of what I was doing - I was very content with the lies and half-truths given me by the "counselor" at the abortion chamber. I had great desire to have them over with so I could tell myself "Well, its too late now, so forget about it." I was so anxious to forget that I even cut short the initial "relief" immediately afterwards, and I consciously began building my protective wall of denial the instant I stepped out of the building onto the sidewalk.

The amazing thing to me is that less than one year ago (eleven years after my first abortion) I adamantly insisted that they didn't affect me at all. Fortunately, however, I am married to a Vietnam vet who understood the symptoms of stress. He had been through stress counseling for PTSD and recognized in me the effects of the abortions, particularly after the birth of our son. I was withdrawing emotionally from my husband and having trouble bonding with the baby. Underneath my conscious thoughts was the belief that I had already proven I was an unfit mother because I had murdered my first two children. Consequently, I felt I didn't deserve the son I had, and I felt I wasn't fit to raise him. That attitude caused me to be overprotective, fearing that my son would be taken from me because of what I had done to the other two. I was also very resentful of anyone's attempt to help me with him, taking it as a direct attack on my fitness as a mother. In short, I was a real mess and I didn't understand why.

My abortions also affected my relationship with my sister and her family. Within days of my first abortion, I learned that my younger sister, a senior in high school, was pregnant. I took all my self-hate and anger caused by the abortion and vented it on her, to the extent that I nearly had her expelled from high school. That incident caused eleven and 1/2 years of strained relationships with her, her husband, and her two boys. Her second child was born nine months after my second abortion. Realization of the fact that my two children-that-should-have-been would be two months older than each of my sisters has made me understand why I could never be comfortable around them.

I was also carrying resentment towards my parents because I didn't feel I could go to them for help. It is truly ironic that one of my main reasons for having the abortions, fear of being alienated from my family, has in fact caused me to be alienated from my family for the past eleven years.

Thanks to a merciful and loving God, and a husband who called the local Crisis Pregnancy Center even while I was standing there insisting that the abortions didn't affect me, I am receiving counseling and I understand now what I did and the repercussions it has had on my life and the lives of the people around me.

My abortions were symptoms of problems I had been carrying from childhood. They accelerated a downhill slide for me which, if healing had not taken place, would have left me with a miserable and unfulfilled life, never knowing what was wrong. The counseling has enabled me to heal, to recognize and deal with problems from my childhood, to rectify my relationships with my family, and especially to build upon and heal the relationships with my husband and son. My intentions are to become actively involved in helping women who are victimized by abortion and to actively support the Right to Life causes.

Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 •